Hello from Zimbabwe –
The trip here was grueling as it took three days. We started in Salt Lake City on Monday, December 15, 2014. We flew to Chicago to London to Johannesburg to Harare. There were layovers from 5 to 8 hours at each airport. We arrived in Harare on Wednesday, December 17 at about 1210. Elder and Sister Hermansen, who work in the mission office picked us up. We also were met by our director of self-reliance, Brother Paradzai. They took us to our flat (apartment) which is a two bedroom, fully furnished, secure, gated area. There are lots of trees, bushes, and flowers. There is a park area and pool (which no one swims in). Hermansen’s took us out to dinner. Just before we got our food, it started to rain, thunder and lightning. The electricity went off and they laughed and said “Welcome to Zimbabwe”. The electricity goes off often.
We came to the mission office on Thursday. The young Elders gave us a driving test. It didn’t seem as strange as we thought it would to drive on the wrong (they say left) side of the road. After that we met with Brother Paradzai. He trained us for part of two days then left on vacation for two weeks. He is moving his family to Harare from a city three hours away on January 1. It will be nice to have him here full time. There will be a self reliance center at one of the stake center’s about 20 minutes from our house where we will be working. We hope it will be finished sometime in February.
The first Sunday we went to church with Hermansen’s. That night we were invited to President and Sister Cook’s house for dinner. They live in a beautiful place.
Monday, Dec. 22, we met with President Cook in his office. He assigned us to the Bindura District. It has six branches. We attended two of the branches on Sunday. It is about an hour and a half away from where we live. The drive was beautiful. There were rolling hills with lots of farm land, orchards, maze fields, and trees. The people are so friendly. They are very smart and dress well. The church services we conducted very well. The teachers did a great job. They ask questions like “How does that make you feel knowing that?”
Christmas was celebrated with the two other senior couples. The McMurdie’s hosted, cooked a turkey, potatoes and gravy, jello, and homemade rolls. Hermansen’s brought ham and a relish tray. We brought stuffing (no stovetop here), pumpkin and coconut cream pie and corn on the cob. The corn is not sweet here lie it is at home. We ate at noon since everyone wanted to go to the mission offices to skype with our families.
On December 26 we went on our first safari to Imire Ranch. Hermansen’s had made reservations for all six of us to go a couple weeks before we got here. It was awesome! We were able to see, up close and personal, every animal you would expect to see in Africa. They fed us a delicious lunch out in the wilderness by a lake. We had our first taste of sadza ( a tasteless cornmeal mush). The sauce they put on it made it good.
Last Saturday, Dec. 27, we went to a flea market and the white peoples mall with McMurdies. The mall was just a very high priced tourist trap. The flea market was hundreds of booths made of plastic walls with tarp roofs. There was everything you can imagine there plus more stuff.
We went downtown yesterday to the police station. Marlene had a little fender bender the first day of driving in Zimbabwe. We are fine and the car has already been repaired. Downtown is one big flea market. We saw where the rest of the million and a half people are.
We know the Lord wants us here and has a purpose for us to accomplish. We hope to find out what that purpose is as we work serving the people of Zimbabwe.
There is a place at the bottom of our blog to comment if you so desire. We would love hearing from you.
We Love You all. Take Care